Winterhawks' bid for home ice goes down to final game
The Portland Winterhawks failed to take care of business on Saturday night at ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington.
They'll have to get back to work on Sunday night, with home ice advantage in the playoffs on the line.
Portland came into Saturday's game needing a win or Spokane loss to clinch second place in the Western Hockey League U.S. Division.
Seattle beat the Hawks 5-2 on Saturday, which left Portland needing to beat the Thunderbirds in their 5 p.m. Sunday rematch at Memorial Coliseum in order to start the postseason at home on Friday.
Portland fell to 40-21-3-3 (86 points), while its waiting first-round opponent, Spokane, improved to 40-21-2-5 (87) by completing its 68-game regular season with a 10-1 rout at home over Tri-City.
If Portland gains one point Sunday with an overtime or shootout loss, it would not get home ice in the playoff series with the Chiefs, because Spokane owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Winterhawks came into Saturday night seeking their eighth consecutive victory over Seattle. But the T-Birds are now 5-1-0-0 in their past six games, losing only to Vancouver, is 29-29-6-2 (66).
The Thunderbirds, who already had clinched the No. 2 wild-card Western Conference playoff spot and will meet conference No. 1 overall Vancouver in the first round, took the lead at 4:38 of the first period.
The T-Birds made the score 2-0 just 14 seconds into the second period.
Seattle took command with a goal only 32 seconds into the third period.
The Hawks got on the board at 5:47. Jared Freadrich scored his 14th goal of the season, with assists to Joachim Blichfeld and Reece Newkirk, on a power play.
At 11:09, the Winterhawks closed to within 3-2, as Josh Paterson scored his 24th goal of the season. Newkirk got another assist.
But Seattle remedied its situation with a goal at
15:12, then added an empty-net score at 18:37.
Both teams were 1 for 5 on the power play.
Hawks goalie Shane Farkas made 33 saves.
Seattle's Roddy Ross stopped 45 shots.